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UPC - Frequently Asked Questions

This article applies to:Avalara AvaTax

Here are the answers to some of our frequently asked questions about UPCs.

What is an UPC?

A Universal Product Code (UPC) is a type of barcode that is widely used in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries to track sales items. A UPC barcode consists of a scannable strip of black bars and white spaces above a sequence of numbers. The UPC option that AvaTax supports lets you tax an item based on its UPC. AvaTax supports UPCs for more than 10 million products, enabling businesses to sell huge volumes of products quickly while complying with sales-tax regulations. Here's what a UPC looks like:


What is the UPC option?

The UPC option supported by AvaTax allows you to tax an item based on its UPC. UPCs may be associated with an item in an accounting application. To tax an item based on its UPC, use the UPC as an item codeHoverTT.png

A supported UPC results in an accurate tax calculation. An unsupported UPC results in AvaTax assuming the item is Tangible Personal Property and taxing it accordingly. Unsupported UPCs can be mapped to tax codes in the accounting application resulting in the tax code overriding the default assumption of Tangible Personal PropertyHoverTT.png when sent to AvaTax .

Note: If the UPC becomes supported in the future, tax will be calculated based on the UPC, not the tax code.  The tax code is mapped only to override the Tangible Personal Property assumption when the UPC is unsupported.

What are the benefits of using UPCs?

Using UPCs to calculate sales tax means you can skip product taxability mapping. UPCs may be associated with an item in an accounting application. It is possible to skip the step of product taxability mapping if you already have standardized UPCs.

In addition, information about a UPC is recorded in a transaction and accurately reflected in export reports.

Are custom UPCs supported?

Yes. You can add, modify, and delete a custom universal product code (UPC) and map it to a tax code by using an import file.


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